Travels with my Art

Paintings and Photographs inspired by Travels Around the World

What greater gift than the love of a cat?

Today I feel a little out of sorts. I have just found out that my dear old cat Brzeska has died.

My old cat Brzeska having a nap on the Syrian camel foot stool.

Brzeska having a doze on his favourite spot, the Syrian camel foot stool.

My husband and I bought Brzeska from Sheffield Cat Shelter in 2004, although back then Brzeska was called Tommy.

I choose him because he was the most stylish and elegant cat I had ever seen; he had sleek black fur; a little bit of white around his nose like a neatly trimmed moustache and a white patch on his chest which made him look as though he were wearing his best bib and tucker.

A suave and stylish puss could not be called something as commonplace as Tommy, so I renamed him Brzeska after one of my favourite artists Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, who had incidentally drawn and sculpted some fantastic cat creations.

When I was pregnant with my twins, Brzeska was the most protective cat ever. He hardly left my side and as the bump grew he would curl up around it and snuggle in bed with me.

He did the same thing when I was pregnant with my third child.

Self Portrait with my very handsome cat, Brzeska.

Self Portrait with my very handsome cat, Brzeska.

So, when we decided to go to live in Sweden three years ago, we were in a real quandary – did we take the cats or not? Brzeska and our other cat Moon, were both too old to travel that far, but who would take them both together?

Just two weeks before we were due to emigrate, my husband Mark came home and said a lovely woman who worked at his school said she would take them both.

Sian gave them both a wonderful home and I always knew they were well loved and were being well looked after. She regularly sent photos of them for me, videos too and when it was my 40th birthday even a photo of Brzeska holding a card.

Over the last few months, I have been following Sian’s facebook posts and she is now pregnant, and once again nurse Brzeska has been sat on her tummy and keeping her company while she had morning sickness.

And it was on facebook that I read her post about the death of Brzeska, earlier today.

One of most important and influential writers in history, cat lover Charles Dickens once said, “What greater gift than the love of a cat?”.  Brzeska was a loyal and loving cat, who will be missed by all those who were close to him, very, very much. RIP Brzeska Puss.


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  1. aliciafoodycat October 9, 2014

    This is beautiful! What a very sad loss – I must go an cuddle my cat.

  2. Åsa Hallström October 9, 2014

    Very much sorrow for you but a cats life are some short and some longer… But so much love in a cat as you describe!!! So sorry to hear about your cat has pass away – Rip to him. As I have three old ladycats here at my home I hope you will get some new petfriend there you are – Lots of love and hugs from me!!

  3. October 10, 2014

    Such a handsome cat…… cats seem to have a majesty about them. We have a rescued jet black cat with the most astonishing lemon coloured eyes called Blakey. We fed her for 3 years and she was wild then one night she came in to the garden room and stayed the night then disappeared for 2 days then on the Saturday moerning she delivedred 6 kittens and carried them into our house depositing them by the fire. Five grey tabbies and a tortoiseshell. we got the Cat’s Protection League to take 2…..we said we’d keep the mother then they found a home for another one but couldn’t find placements for the last grey aaaaaaaaaand the tortiousshell so after 3 weeks we had given them names Gizmo and Pumkin….so now we have 4 cats. Blakey (jet Bleck) Gizmo (Tortoiushell), Pumpkin (grey tabby) and Tigger (Ginger Puss) anoyher stray. Roland and Karol also have Byron and he is all black too. I wouldn’t be without them now…..such great company. Hope you are still enjoying Mwanza. Regards Brenda Brenda Codd

    • alidunnell October 14, 2014

      Thank Brenda.
      Our other cat, moon, died a few days after Brzeska, we think of a broken heart. Now, we have our eyes on a little kitten here in mwanza.
      We are enjoying ourselves a lot here. I’m getting eaten alive by mosquitoes but other than that everything is really positive. I’m not sure if you are on Facebook too but I have a travels with my art Facebook page, where I put more photos – it is called Ali Dunnell Travels with my Art. Much love, Ali
      P.S I love the name pumpkin for a cat by the way.

  4. Joan Dunnell October 10, 2014

    sso sorry Ali, he was a lovely pus.xx

    • alidunnell October 11, 2014

      Thanks Joan. He really was a lovely cat and so very elegant. But he was loved right until the end. Much love to you and Bill, are you back from your hols… if so, we’ll skype you tomorrow. Ali xxx

  5. Rosie Scribblah October 13, 2014

    So sad, but he had a wonderful life 🙂

  6. Carol. October 14, 2014

    I remember the lovely Brzeska (puss, not artist) very well – he was gorgeous and a real character. At least you have the comfort of knowing that he was well cared for from the moment you rescued him until he went to the great cat basket in the sky.
    Hope all is well there – I love reading your posts. The Hibiscus Thieves is beautiful – words and pictures. The title reminds me of something Michael Ondaatje should have written!
    Much love

    • alidunnell October 14, 2014

      Thanks Carol… Moon died a few days later too, I think of a broken heart. They fought loads but were so content with each other too… Like Richard burton and elizabeth Taylor. I do think there is a book title in the Hibicus thieves, but not from me. I am hoping to get some frames and canvases made up soon so I can paint properly. I hope you are well my dear and not working too hard – email me with your news. Much love Ali xxx

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